This is the Occupy Penn Statement of Principles, which was developed collectively. We are supporting several upcoming actions, including the Mar. 1 Coalition Walkout for Education, Anti-Curfew Law action and the Anti-Mountain Top Removal Campaign. We hold teach-ins every Friday at 2 p.m. at the button, which will focus on education, leading up to Mar. 1. or for more information, please go to: http://www.occupy-penn.org/.
We are Occupy Penn. We are members of the University of Pennsylvania community. We come from diverse backgrounds and we are for the 99%.
We seek a university community that promotes an environment of equality, creativity and democratic critique—not a community that perpetuates inequality, instrumental rationality, and civic complacency.
We stand in solidarity with Occupy Philadelphia, Occupy Wall Street and liberatory movements throughout the world that seek to end the privatization and corporatization of our social and political systems. Our university has been both a beneficiary and an agent of these anti-social forces. Even as our university profits from finance capital, military research funding and the exploitation of Philadelphia’s low-paid precariat, our university trains the 1% to reproduce these exploitative practices across the globe. We are deeply troubled by Penn’s role — by our role — in perpetuating injustice, locally and globally. We are determined to speak up and act to change this situation. We appeal to you to join us.
We are concerned with the infiltration of corporate and military interests into our classes and our research.
• We object to the Department of Defense-funded research conducted on our campus that may feed into the technologies that endanger civilians across the globe.
• We object to U.S. intelligence agencies’ providing academic curricula for Penn’s International Relations courses and to Penn President Amy Gutmann’s sitting on the National Security Higher Education Advisory Board alongside other academic leaders such as UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi and Penn State President Graham Spanier.
• We object to the intimate connections between corporations and faculty, to the ways that this funding compromises freedom of inquiry, promotes conflicts of interest, and stimulates business practices that perpetuate social inequities.
We are concerned with the lack of transparency in our university’s governance and finance.
• We object to Penn’s relationship with PNC Bank, the number-one financer of mountaintop removal.
• We object to Penn’s refusal to publish contracts with sub-contractors or disclose wage statements.
• While we appreciate our university’s declaration that it has no further plans to reinvest in HEI Hotels and Resorts in response to student labor activism, we object to Penn’s continued relationship with this exploitative employer through the MBA executive program, Wharton West.
We are concerned about the political, economic and social relations produced by Penn and within Penn.
• We object to the prevailing rhetoric at Penn that vilifies so-called “flash mobs” while not acknowledging the University’s exercise of eminent domain to displace the Black Bottom neighborhood in making room for the expanding university.
• We object to the existing curfew laws that partly originated in “University City.” Penn should not contribute to laws that deepen racial segregation or discrimination.
• We object to the University’s failure to recruit and retain racially and economically diverse faculty and students, despite years of rhetoric in favor of such recruitment and retention.
• We object to gross wage disparities across the University. While our president’s average annual salary over the last six years was $1,091,109, workers on this campus continue to make poverty wages. We are also concerned that so many employees at Penn have no job security and can be terminated at will.
• We object to the University’s dismissal of GET-UP graduate students, the Philly Five AlliedBarton workers, and all others on campus attempting to unionize. It is important that all members of our community — students, staff, faculty, and other employees — be free to express themselves without fear of retribution, give voice to their dissent, and organize themselves to do so.
These are only some of the many ways in which Penn thrives on and reproduces social inequality. It is unfortunate that our university increasingly serves the 1%. By perpetuating hierarchies between rich and poor, this service injures the integrity of our intellectual life and severely compromises our community’s ethical standing.
Occupy Penn represents a diverse group of students, staff, faculty and members of the University of Pennsylvania community in support of the Occupy Movement. Their email address is email@example.com.Comments powered by Disqus
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